NexTone + Reef Point = NextPoint

12/4/07Follow @wroush

It’s not enough to be just a cellular company, just a fixed-line phone company, just a cable company, or just a voice-over-Internet company anymore. To survive in a world overturned by the Internet, you probably have to be all of the above—and for help, operators can now turn to NextPoint Networks, a new company formed today by the merger of Billerica, MA-based Reef Point Systems and Gaithersburg, MD-based NexTone Communications. (Apparently the names “ReefTone” and “NexReefer” were taken.)

The traditional lines between cellular operators, landline phone companies, and cable companies have been disappearing fast lately, thanks in part to technologies such as Reef Point’s secure “universal convergence gateway,” which can combine data that used to flow over wireless, fixed-line, and coaxial-cable networks onto a single Internet-based network. Managing these new so-called “IP multimedia subsystems” or IMSs is a job handled by devices such as NexTone’s session border controllers. The two companies have already collaborated, introducing an “Integrated Border Gateway” product earlier this year that combined NexTone’s session border control product with Reef Point’s security gateway. Hence the logic behind a merger.

Reef Point CEO Woody Ritchey was named as CEO of NextPoint. At the same time, the companies announced a $20 million funding round led by One Equity Partners, the venture investing arm of JP Morgan Chase. Joining the round are American Capital, Core Capital Partners, Jerusalem Venture Partners, Safeguard Scientifics, and Summerhill Venture Partners.

“NextPoint provides mobile and fixed-network operators around the world the ability to quickly, securely and profitably deliver voice, data and video services over all IP networks,” said Pascal Luck, a managing director with Core Capital Partners, in a statement from that firm about the merger. “With the strong, experienced leadership of newly appointed CEO Woody Ritchey, NextPoint is well-positioned for accelerated growth in the emerging fixed-mobile convergence marketplace.”

Just to make the name game a bit more confusing, NextPoint Networks was also the name of a 1990s-era startup that made business process management software; that company was acquired in 2000 by Westford, MA-based NetScout.

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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